November 30, 2016

ESPN Loses Almost 1.2 Million Subscribers in Two Months

One bad month of subscriber losses might have been considered a fluke, but two bad months in a row has to be setting off alarms at ESPN and parent company Disney.

The once seemingly invincible sports juggernaut, which has exponentially increased its political posturing in the past several years, lost 621,000 subscribers a month ago, and shed another 555,000 during November (i.e., heading into December), according to Nielsen’s December 2016 Cable Coverage Estimates (“monthly” reports are apparently issued on the closest Monday to the first of the month on four-week, four-week, five-week rotation).


Newsweek Writer: Trashed ‘Hillary Wins’ Items ‘Similar’ to Nixon’s Draft Apollo Failure Speech

On Tuesday, Zach Schonfeld, a senior writer for Newsweek, decided to mine what is “now a massive, unprecedented content graveyard of articles celebrating or analyzing Hillary Clinton’s would-be historic victory,” presenting “a small sampling … of what the internet would have looked like on November 9 if Clinton beat Trump, as so many pundits forecast.”

It’s mildly entertaining, but it comes with heavy and offensive dose of smug self-importance.


November ADP Employment Report: 216K Private-Sector Jobs Added; Prior Months Revised Down over 30K (See Joined-Late Conference Call Notes)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:36 am

From ADP:

Private-sector employment increased by 216,000 from October to November, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

From the press release:

“For the month of November 2016 we saw very strong job growth that has almost doubled in gains over October 2016,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute. “This growth was seen in primarily consumer-driven industries like retail and, leisure and hospitality – across all company sizes. Overall, consumers are feeling confident and are driving the strong performance we currently see in the job market.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “Businesses hired aggressively in November and there is little evidence that the uncertainty surrounding the presidential election dampened hiring. In addition, because of the tightening labor market, retailers may be accelerating seasonal hiring to secure an adequate workforce to meet holiday demand, although total expected seasonal hiring may be no higher than last year’s.

Prior-month revisions:

  • October — from 147K to 119K
  • September — from 202K to 196K (originally 154K)


MARK ZANDI (again, joining late):

… All in all, hard to argue with the result. About as good as it gets. Long time in coming, quite an achievement.


ME (prior month revisions) — Answer: ADP’s process of expanding to further industry coverage caused a re-look at the ADP model and its aggregation. Larger downward revision than before and have to watch future. Hesitant to draw conclusions from downward revision, because not sure it’s real. Something they’re watching. Will address next month. BLS revisions have been modest in up direction.

BLS next month will do comprehensive benchmark revisions which are expected to be small. Bottom line: Not a big deal yet.

Chris Rugaber, Associated Press (Hurricane Matthew impact snapback in Nov.) — Answer: Didn’t see any of that, probably small. Caution: ADP is based on people on payroll, and BLS is based on people who actually worked. So ADP doesn’t pick up weather impacts to the extent BLS does.

Rugaber (is job mix problematic, causing people aren’t “feeling it”?) — Answer: Quality of job creation is good. Was skewed to low-pay 7-8 years ago. Past 3-4 years, broad-based across pay scales.

Election was a reflection of taking so long to get back to near-full employment. Only in past year has wage growth picked up. Second element is specific pockets of weakness, e.g., energy, manufacturing, etc. Many people can’t move and are sort of stuck where they are. Regional voting patterns reflect that.

As market tightens further, pay will increase, people will be in better position to respond and will feel better about things.

Rugaber (regulation, deregulation, how to evaluate how that works, measuring success) — Answer: Hard to disentangle from other things going on. Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, energy/environment. Obamacare — hard to see how repeal would lead to growth (seriously??!! — Ed.). Dodd-Frank has slowed credit growth (except student loans and cars, which have exploded … — Ed.), and repeal/dereg could improve growth. But would it lead to jobs? Not clear. Regulatory changes can cause friction, winners/losers, winners don’t respond as quickly as losers, so it takes time. He acknowledges that Obamacare and Dodd-Frank affected econ growth, affecting productivity (where have you been, dude? This is after months/years of saying either it’s wrong, or it’s something we’ll have to live with. — Ed.). Changing regs will require an adjustment period. But, many things which could be done to make life better for business.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (113016)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Grieving Indiana farmer gets help from fellow farmers, harvest over 100 acres in one day

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Connersville, Indiana (video at link; HT Daryn Kagan):

POSTED 12:53 PM, NOVEMBER 21, 2016

An Indiana farming community came together to help a man coping with the death of his granddaughter.

Steve Wollyung was preparing to harvest the last 112 acres of his farm on November 5 when an unthinkable tragedy occurred.

His 4-year-old granddaughter Ayla was playing in a grain wagon when she became trapped in the wagon. First responders removed Ayla from the grain wagon, and she was airlifted to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where she later died from her injuries.

Tara Henry, a longtime friend of the Wollyung family, heard about the farming accident the next day. She called up Steve’s wife Carmen and asked if they were done harvesting, and Carmen told her they still had over 100 acres to finish and they weren’t sure how they were going to get it all done.

Henry called a few farmers who were done harvesting and asked if they would be willing to help. Word spread quickly and pretty soon more than 60 people from several counties contacted Henry about donating their time and equipment to help the Wollyung family.

The army of farmers with their combines, semis, and grain carts gathered at Consolidated Grain on Saturday, November 12. Henry gave everyone their marching orders, they said a prayer, and they were out in the fields by 10 a.m.

Friends and neighbors who couldn’t help in the fields donated sandwiches, soup, snacks, and drinks.

Steve told FOX59 he was totally shocked. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw everyone show up to help. All of the support and the number of people wanting to help is just overwhelming,” Steve said. “It was emotional to see everyone. Whatever we needed, they brought.”

Working together, they finished harvesting 18,463 bushels by about 5 p.m. Steve said it would have taken him about a week to do the work all on his own.

“There were lots of tears, and it felt so good to help them. They are a wonderful family. And with all the turmoil in the world right now, it felt so good to witness this. Unfortunately, I wish the help didn’t have to come because of this tragedy, but it just shows how much everyone values Steve, and how close this community is. We all know Steve would drop everything to help us, and this shows everyone else doing the same for him,” Henry said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Two Things I Don’t Know

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:18 am

- First, how much of this Pizzagate thing is for real.

- Second, if this Pizzagate thing is not and never has been real, what the alternative explanation could possibly be for the late Andrew Breitbart tweeting the following (along with other tweets) almost six years ago:


UPDATE, Dec. 6: Larry O’Connor at Hot Air believes that Breitbart was referring to Podesta’s role in trying to defend ACORN and discredit him after James O’Keefe’s child-sex/tax-fraud sting exposed their dishonest operations in the fall of 2009.

That is plausible. The only question I would have is why Andrew would still have been focusing on ACORN almost a year after it broke apart. It’s also at least plausible that Breitbart had gotten wind of Podesta’s alleged more active involvement as a “sex slave op cover-upperer.”

November 29, 2016

AP, Several Other Outlets Ignore Hillary’s 2005 Co-Sponsorship of Flag-Burning Law

Well now. The press has been raking President-Elect Donald Trump over the coals for proposing “consequences” for burning the American flag.

It’s especially rich to see leftists like Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post invoke the name of the otherwise completely despised late Antonin Scalia, who was considered the tie-breaking Supreme Court Justice in the 1989 case when the Court ruled that flag-burning is “symbolic speech” protected by the First Amendment. Many in the press apparently believe that no one except Donald Trump has been dumb enough to support punishments for flag-burning since then, and … oh, wait. Someone has — and she’s a Democrat, and she just ran for President and lost.


AP ‘Guidance’ on Using ‘alt-right’ Designed to Smear GOP, Conservatives

In an extraordinarily selective move which reeks of political motivations, the Associated Press has issued “usage” and “boilerplate” guidance relating to the “alt-right” which it clearly expects its “1,400 U.S. daily newspaper members and thousands of television and radio broadcast members” to follow.

The AP is essentially demanding that journalists henceforth define the beliefs of the “alt-right” as the wire service defines them, and specifically insists that those alleged beliefs be identified “whenever ‘alt-right’ is used in a story.”


3Q16 Gross Domestic Product Growth: An Annualized 3.2 Percent, Up from 2.9 Percent

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:37 am

From the Bureau of Economic Analysis (full release with tables):

Real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the third quarter of 2016 (table 1), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 1.4 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 2.9 percent. With the second estimate for the third quarter, the general picture of economic growth remains the same; the increase in personal consumption expenditures was larger than previously estimated.

… The increase in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, private inventory investment, and federal government spending, that were partly offset by negative contributions from residential fixed investment and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The acceleration in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected an upturn in private inventory investment, an acceleration in exports, an upturn in federal government spending, and smaller decreases in state and local government spending and residential fixed investment, that were partly offset by a deceleration in PCE, an acceleration in imports, and a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment.

An updated comparison chart is coming.


UPDATE: Here it is —


The improvement of 0.3 points is in consumption (+0.42 points), offset slightly by a 0.13-point reduction to almost nothing in fixed nonresidential investment.

This quarter marks one decent quarter in the past five. It’s going to take a lot more than 3.2 percent growth to dig out of the $2.2 trillion performance hole ($6,800 for every man, woman and child in the U.S., or over $27,000 for a family of four) dug in the past seven years.

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112916)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Trying to find confession times? There’s an app for that

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Edinburgh, Scotland:

Nov 28, 2016 / 03:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Need to find confession nearby at the drop of a dime? There’s an app for that.

The Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh announced last Tuesday at St. Peter’s Square the first ever GPS-powered confession finder that uses technology to connect individuals with the closest confession and Mass times.

“This is a little bit of smart technology that could make a big impact on how the Catholic Church brings the mercy of God and the joy of the Gospel to our contemporary world,” Archbishop Leo Cushley of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh stated, according to the Telegraph.

“The idea was really inspired by the Holy Father himself. He said to be imaginative about what to do for the Holy Year of Mercy,” Archbishop Cushley told Vatican Radio.

The archdiocese hopes the app will increase Mass attendance and help Catholics aged 18-55 to become more fully engaged within the local Church. Ultimately, the app will also save on bulletin printing costs.

The Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh contains more than 110 parishes spread over more than 2,000 square miles in Scotland. Although this archdiocese is the first to launch the app, The Guardian reported that five other dioceses in the country will likely incorporate the app in the near future.

Although some websites have minted similar concepts, such as, “The Catholic App” is the first mobile-friendly service to offer sacrament-finding services to individuals on their phones. The app also offers a planning service to schedule confession in the future, incorporates local diocesan news, and delivers weekly spiritual inspirations.

“The Catholic App” was developed by tech company Musemantik.

Dr. Maciej Zurawski, founder of Musemantik, believes apps are the only way to keep in touch with the mobile generation. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 28, 2016

NY Daily News Writer: ‘Meaningless’ That Ohio State Attacker Was a Somali Muslim Refugee

In June, New York Daily News writer Gersh Kuntzman entertained us by claiming that he got a “temporary case of PTSD” after firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Kuntzman, in his haste to capitalize on the Orlando, Florida massacre of 49 which had occurred the day before to make some kind of gun-control point, failed to note that terrorist Omar Mateen didn’t use an AR-15 to carry out his attack.

But then again, Kuntzman, despite being a journalist, has a unique outlook on the importance of details. He has very little interest in them. For example, after Monday’s stabbing spree at The Ohio State University, Kuntzman ranted on Twitter that the world doesn’t really need to know that the deceased attacker, who has been identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, was a Somali refugee.


The Fake New York Times Story That Launched Fidel Castro

How ironic it is that the announced death of Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro late Friday night coincides with the U.S. establishment press’s obsession with smearing websites which dare to challenge their narratives as Russian-inspired “fake news.”

Castro’s original rise to power was arguably the product of a spectacularly fake dispatch written nearly six decades ago by reporter Herbert L. Matthews and published in the New York Times.


Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112816)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Thanksgiving — Gratitude At Home And At Work May Lead To A Longer, Happier Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

Via Forbes, during the runup to Thanksgiving:

NOV 20, 2016 @ 08:30 AM

I love this holiday! It’s inclusive, family-oriented, and a time to get over ourselves and give thanks. “Thanks” should not be a once-a-year practice; it should be something incorporated into your language, actions, and deeds all year long.

Gratitude can be taught and we can live it by example. It’s even healthy for us and may counterbalance the damaging health effects of our overindulgence all year long, especially at Thanksgiving. I’m being facetious, but if we can extend the “thankful” part of our lives beyond “turkey day.” We may be happier, less stressed, and around to see many more turkey days with our loved ones. …

Go here for the full column.